My Experience as the Leader of an Adult Autism Support Group

I have written extensively about having pets. I have written about adults on the autism spectrum and employment, volunteering and living on our own. One issue I have not written about yet is running an adult autism support group. Well, here goes!

First of all, it is not easy for me being the leader of such a group. I took on this position when our other leader decided he wanted to be a naval reservist, which is a terrific career. Because I was the only remaining original member of this enterprise when this group first formed back in 2009, I was the only person in the group who could do this job. So now I am holding the new leadership role for this group. I feel it is important to be friends with each of the members of our group, old and new. I also have to keep the peace between a few of the members who do not see eye to eye with each other at the meetings.

My other hat is the Chairman of our guest speaker series. I am the one who gets guest speakers for our meetings to get our voices heard and to let these guest speakers know we are here. I have been very successful in this endeavor. I have gotten speakers from all over — state senators, a justice consultant, an officer of the law and his K-9 patrol dog, and many others who work in the autism field. I am also the person in charge of putting things on our website called “Oasis,” which includes information on our group meetings each month and group activities such as going to museums, picnics, touring battlefields, etc. I also have to find out what members would like to go on these adventures and also who needs transportation to and from these adventures. I also have to contact our van driver for those who need this service of transportation.

I take this responsibility seriously because our local Autism Society is looking to me to make this group a success, which I guess I have done, as this year I was the recipient of the Dennis O’brien Autism Advocacy Award. I hope I have given you a glimpse into what can go into running a support group.

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